News report | | 29/01/2024 | ±3 minutes reading time

Romania hopes to finally join the US Visa Waiver Program in 2025. This would allow Romanian travellers to enter the United States using a simple ESTA instead of a visa.

Participating in the Visa Waiver Program

For years, the Romanian government has been trying everything to gain access to the US Visa Waiver Program. In May 2022, an article published on this website on the possible addition of Romania to the VWP stated that the Eastern European country aimed to meet all the requirements for joining the ESTA programme by 2024. The initial objective turned out to be unrealistic, but hopes of being admitted are still very much alive. Romania is now expected to join the VWP by the end of 2025.

Most EU countries have already joined the ESTA programme

Travellers from Romania, Bulgaria, and Cyprus are currently the only EU citizens who still need a visa to travel to the United States. Croatia was admitted to the VWP in 2021, and is currently the last EU country to be admitted to the American programme. Nationals of countries that have been admitted to the programme may travel to the USA by holding a valid passport and an electronic travel authorisation (ESTA). However, travellers must meet several requirements to apply for the ESTA. For example, they can only travel to the US for tourism or for business, and each trip may last up to 90 days. Applying for this travel authorisation is easier, cheaper and faster than applying for a physical visa. This is why many countries find it so important to join the VWP.

Optimism about Romania’s admission

The Romanian ambassador in the United States, Andrei Muraru, has recently expressed ’great optimism’ about Romania’s possible admission to the Visa Waiver Program in the course of next year. He expects the admission to be officially announced by both countries in the near future, more specifically on 1 December 2025. If so, Romanian travellers would be allowed to travel to the USA on an ESTA. Nonetheless, the country has to meet several conditions to join the VWP. The fact that this still takes just under two years is partly due to the several requirements that a country has to meet in order to join the VWP.

Requirements for joining the ESTA programme

One of the requirements to be admitted to the VWP is that the country in question must not pose a threat to safety in the United States. In order to apply, countries must also share passenger data with the USA, as certain passengers could affect the national security. Moreover, the refusal rate for non-immigrant visa applications from that country must not exceed 3%. The latter is a roadblock for many countries. In 2021, Romania’s refusal rate was 17%. At the end of 2022, the rate had dropped to 12.6%, and last year it dropped to 8.8%. Despite the rate of refused applications still being too high, Muraru is confident that this requirement will be met in 2025.

Closer relations between Romania and the US

The future admission of Romania to the VWP is a logic consequence of the increasingly close relations that the country and the United States have had in recent years. For instance, Romanian airline HiSky has recently announced that it would start offering flights between Bucharest and New York again from June 2024. It will be the first direct connection between the Romanian capital and the US in more than 20 years. Moreover, in relation to the future admission to the ESTA programme, Romania and the US will sign two agreements concerning the exchange of passenger data and cooperation in the fight against certain crimes.

Online ESTA application

The UK and Ireland have been members of the Visa Waiver Program for years, which means that British and Irish travellers who meet the ESTA requirements only need a valid passport and an ESTA to travel to the USA. You can easily and quickly submit your ESTA application using the application form available on this website. This electronic travel authorisation for the United States is valid for two years, during which you may travel to the USA an unlimited amount of times. However, ESTA holders may only stay in the USA for up to 90 consecutive days per trip.

e-Visa.co.uk is a commercial and professional visa agency, and supports travellers in obtaining, among others, the ESTA USA. e-Visa.co.uk acts as an intermediary and is in no way part of any government. You can also apply for an ESTA directly with the immigration service (21 USD per ESTA, via esta.cbp.dhs.gov). However, not with our level of support. If you submit your application via e-Visa.co.uk, our support centre is available to you 24/7. In addition, we manually check your application and all the documents you provide before submitting it to the immigration authorities on your behalf. If we suspect any errors or omissions while doing so, we will personally contact you to ensure that your application can still be processed quickly and correctly. To use our services, you pay us 21 USD in consular fees, which we pay to the immigration service on your behalf, as well as £33.50 in service fees as compensation for our services, including VAT. Our services have saved many travellers from major problems during their trip. Should an application be rejected despite our support and verification, we will refund the full purchase price (unless an application for a previous ESTA USA was rejected for the same traveller). Read more about our services here.